Another factor hurting our chances for a top-10 finish in next year’s Index: The Dodd-Frank financial “reform” bill Congress passed last year. Supporters said it would make financial customers safer; instead, it’s making them poorer. “It is likely to burden our banks and financial markets with new requirements that will raise their cost of doing business—and those costs will be passed on to consumers,” Index Editor Terry Miller said.
How can we turn this around? The first step is obvious: Cut spending and taxes.
The new Congress must get serious about spending less -- a lot less. To call it an important issue is an understatement. Many new members were elected on explicit promises to make government more thrifty. They can start by axing the nearly $340 billion in wasteful spending that Heritage identified in its recent Solutions for America plan.
But they’ll need to do more. Lawmakers have to roll back laws and economic policies that hinder economic growth. That means repealing the new health care law. Don’t amend it -- repeal it. And if President Obama makes full-blown repeal impossible, Congress should refuse to fund it. Lawmakers should also ratify three pending free-trade agreements without further delay and cut the corporate tax rate from its current level of 35 percent.
In the Index, countries fall into one of five categories, from “free” to “repressed.” For the second year in a row, the United States is ranked as “mostly free.” It’s time to change course and head back to “free.”